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My name is Robert, and I last TTL'ed three days ago. I can't give it up.

 

Seriously, TTL was probably the main (but not the only) reason I went with the Fuji S2 instead of a Nikon digital. I've become used to shooting TTL u/w for both macro and (most) wide-angle, and didn't see why I should give it up if I don't have to.

 

Like a previous poster, I routinely dial in negative flash exposure compensation (usually -0.7 with Ike SS200s, less with my back-up Sea&Sea strobes). No settings works perfectly, but once zeroed in its good over quite a range. I don't think I'd be getting every frame perfectly-exposed-no-bracketing if I were shooting manual strobe either.

 

The big plus, for me, is being able to respond quickly to a new subject, different angle, move in closer to a subject (or when the subject moves close to me).

 

If I had a strobe controller on the housing that would allow me to change power settings on both strobes without having to swim out to each end of my long arms every time I changed the aperture or distance to subject, I might be more interested in experimenting with manual strobe for TTL than I am.

 

Frogfish

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Hi, My name is Nick, I have been using TTL with my Aquatica N90 housing for a long time and now with my new Aquatica A70 I won't be able too use it any more and I'm scarred! :shock:

 

I accept I will have to do everything in manual (in strong surge current this can be tricky). Anyone have any links or references in mind to help me learn? This is all new to me. I'm encouraged by most of you who have been doing a great job without. I also find comfort in the fact that I will be able to review my picts u/w and delete, and delete, and delete, as needed.

 

I have two SB-105s and a new Aquatica housed D70.

 

HELP!

Nick

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Hi My name is Jean, and i was a TTL addict until I went cold turkey, wish it did change my life, but alas I still shoot up and come up with result. So detox is not so hard.

 

We, as a community, are concerned by TTL, and we should, I ask nothing better than to have the option and use it if I need to get THAT shot. TTL already exist in various form, E-TTL, I-TTL, D-TTL, ETC... in various Sunpak and Sigma flashes among other, so the technollogy is there.The point I want to get too is. Why are the strobe maker not more pro active in this area, it is in my opinion that they should be ajusting to the new trade, making converter built-in the housing is fine, but would'nt it be better to just get the flash you need and plug it in, then just add water.

 

My two (canadian) cents worth.

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It is a fair question, Jean, but I guess it comes down to company size and money available for R&D. In the end the likes of Sigma and Sunpak are selling far more flashes than the likes of Ikelite and Inon, and therefore have the money to invest in decoding and replicating all the new flash protocols. Having re-read that I think I am just stating the obvious, that I am sure you already know.

 

I do agree with your final point - that we the consumers should demand more. I think once one of the UW strobe manufacturers has these protocols reliably cracked then the rest will be forced to invest and respond (assuming that we the customers vote with our dollars, Canadian cents or Pounds etc)!

 

Alex

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Hello Alex, the night, being as always, a time to reflect, I got up went diving trought my pile of xenon substained technollogy and fished out a Sunpak Marine auto 2400, and like the ignored poor bastard that it was, upon not even so close inspection it stand out that this is a Sea & Sea YS-50 in drag. Mmmm we say! These fellas were bed fellows once upon a time, so why not rekindle this forgoten flame of collaboration.

 

Come on, you flashy devices creator, break the ice (and go diving if your in Montreal) and get a head start. technollogy goes only one way and losing TTL underwater is not an option it should be a choice we make.

 

Again, my two (Canadian) cents, Hey Alex what the exchange rate for two cents Canadian must .00005 pounds or something.

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This is just to give you a clear example of my dependence to TTL. The shot below was taken a few weeks ago in Belize, this was the first (and only) time I saw this blenny, it is about 3cm long (one inch for the imperial people). I had this one chance, took the picture, and it was gone never to be seen again. I think this would be very hard to accomplish without TTL, that's why I am waiting (and counting) on IKE to develop iTTL (and hopefully on Nikon for a replacement for the D100).

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At 1799 I would prefer a Canon 20D and Ike's eTTL, but I will give Nikon another chance and wait for the D100 replacement (my F100 will keep working on the mean time, I still have a few rows of slide film left), I hope Ike comes up with iTTL by then...

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You can get shots like that as long as you're prepared. Committing to manual with digital is easier than film. Of all the problems to worry about TTL is not the biggest.

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I agree with Graig, be a boy scout and be prepared, it be nice to have TTL available allthe time, but like we say in french, c'est la vie ! I have a Fuji S2pro in an Aquatica housing (figure's) and a pair of Nikon D100 in housings (Aquatica needless to say), but somehow always managed to have the non TTL set-up when oportunity knocked, well you know what, I went back to old school, back in the early 70's when I started (don't laugh James, I am that old) TTL was a pipe dream. Hell automatic flashes were just starting to appear on the market, you just nosed your way trough a proper exposition,

 

It made me go back to basic, and now I make the picture more than I take it, going simple as a definite plus, you have to be attune to your set-up a lot more, and that, in the end make the difference. TTL and all is good, knowing your gear, even better, so when you need TTL you'll not end up at F:22 with a subject at 1.5 meter anyway. Can't stop progress, but we must all be patient with this new technollogy, what took years in film to devellop, we expect in month for digital. this digital business as yet to settle down, we have gone trough at least four different TTL protocol in the last years or so. Boy am I glad I'm not in the business of making strobes these days. I root for you Ike ! :wink:

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I myself have learned to appreciate both TTL and manual exposure. With film, I was a TTL junkie and when digital came I had to go to TTL Anonymous to break my addiction. I have the Titan housing so manual, I will admit, is so much easier to shoot than the old Hydro 35 days. TTL on digi has a different behavior than film. Topside, I more often than not don't like the ttl results, so I either adjust strobe output or go full manual. The more I learn about digi's manual adjustments (with all the fancy strobes and camera buttons), the more comfy I become. And my results are more pleasing than just putting the camera on "P" for punt, when all else fails.

 

Since I don't have a ttl underwater system, I am forced to shoot manual. It's no biggie. If you are shooting in macro, say with the 105mm, you will most likely be within exposure forgiveness range on those gost subjects (those that are there and then they are gone), which can be corrected in PS. If you are shooting raw, better yet.

 

So, for me, ttl is an option of many on my camera, and no longer a necessity. Sometimes I will shoot on ttl just to see what the camera wants to do as far as exposure, then flip the switch to manual.

 

Here are two examples of manual exposures that need almost zero correction in PS. The colors are just about as shot. Granted, no strobe, but the point is that "p" (auto expose anything) with or without strobes corrects for proper exposure. I could not get the camera to give me these results on P, only manual. This is why I am slowly learning to like manual more than ttl, although I think ttl has its place in many instances.

 

Enjoy! I am off to the beach to blow some more computer memory on birds.

 

Joe

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Anthp jokingly suggested that I make a new post here after testing a INON D2000 on a recent trip!

http://www.wetpixel.com/PNphpBB2-viewtopic...ic-t-7481.phtml

 

But my opinion is not changed! Yes the INON D2000 works very well. But TTL can get it wrong. Manual does not. Manual does exactly what you tell it to do. If i shoot manual I may get it wrong. I can live with that and solve it. What I can't stand is when the equipment thinks it knows what I want.

 

What is worse is that the INON has a TTL compensation switch on it. So if the TTL metered flash is too dark or bright - you can adjust it. This is fine0 Sounds great, in fact. But, wait a minute. If you are going to adjust this - and I bet most D2000 owners WILL - then they might as well be shooting on manual. This is because a manual strobe always gives out the amount of light you tell it to. Compensating a TTL metered strobe may not be so reliable.

 

This is because in TTL your starting point for compensation can always change - depending on what the TTL reckons. Say the TTL gets it wrong, slightly dark, on one shot. You will increase the output to compensate - then when you retake the image the TTL might get it right and your shot is overexposed! Of course this wouldn't happen in the studio where everything is clamped in place, but underwater...

 

Manual means that your strobe gives out a constant amount of light. And if you get it wrong - you compensate and it does exactly what you tell it to do. And you get it right and it stays right.

 

My feeling is that many people will buy the D2000 for its TTL. And they will always use it in TTL. Compensating when they need to. The thing is - what they won't realise is they are doing pretty much the same thing that they would be doing with a manual strobe. Taking a shot looking at the LCD - and reaching over to the strobe and adjusting it slightly.

 

Alex

 

p.s. The INON STTL did work very well! Damn it!

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This is just to give you a clear example of my dependence to TTL. The shot below was taken a few weeks ago in Belize, this was the first (and only) time I saw this blenny, it is about 3cm long (one inch for the imperial people). I had this one chance, took the picture, and it was gone never to be seen again. I think this would be very hard to accomplish without TTL, that's why I am waiting (and counting) on IKE to develop iTTL (and hopefully on Nikon for a replacement for the D100).

 

Luiz - I don't mean to be argumentative. But I disagree. OK I have an advantage here because I know my Caribbean blennies well and I can find arrow blennies very easily. They are hard to find. But they are very habitat specific and once you learn to recognise the habitat then you can find then within a minute (if that habitat exists on your dive site).

 

This shot is from 2001-ish. Shot on Film (F100 + TTL). It is the best of many, and yes, I admit that is very pleasing (sorry for the high jpg compression and the fact that the bottom 20% of the frame is cropped off). My point is as always - that while I agree that I would not have got this shot on film without TTL. I think it is an easy shot to get on digital without TTL.

 

0203-creature.jpg

 

The attached shot is taken on my last dive (same one as those Starksia blennies and the triplefin and moray on the D2000 chat). It was taken with the Oly 5060 + D2000. This shot is uncropped. I am rather pleased that I did this with Oly AF and shutter lag. If only he was looking at the camera it would have been good. And if the bloody TTL had not slightly over exposed him it would be better. I feel that the over bright background (the result of TTL getting it wrong) has ruined this shot!

 

I completely take your point on film. And I completely disagree on digital.

 

Alex

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This shot was taken on digital with manual strobes. This is also uncropped. But taken with D100 and 105mm (last September). So even autofocusing this close, filling the frame with a free swimming macro subject - it is still easy to get the correct exposure with manual strobes.

 

Alex

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Luiz, please do not take my rant personally. It is not intended in any way as such. And I do accept that some people like the option of TTL. The main reason I defend manual flash control so strongly is because I wasted money housing a Nikon SB80DX with my D100 - so I could have TTL - which I later learned I did not need or want. I just want to save others wasting their money buying certain cameras, housings or flash guns because they think that they need TTL.

 

I'm not fussed that my new camera (D2X) has just won a group test in the British Journal of Photography as the best flash control system (beating the 1Ds MK2 and S3 - readers of too many doom and gloom internet forums may be shocked this camera exists and is already doing group tests). I will shoot it underwater on manual!

 

Alex

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Ha Ha ROTFLMAO!! ;):D

 

Pretty funny that you actually took my advice Alex. I really did mean it as a joke btw.

 

I follow your arguement re the differences between film and digi in terms of TTL needs. I'm currently shooting on film and using TTL for macro and manual strobe for WA ('cause as you know - TTL is woeful in this regard).

 

I must admit to being one of those shocked that the D2X exists outside the bowels of Nikon headquarters - and I'm a little confused as to why you are still waiting... waiting... waiting... :) But I assume it is because your baby is still on order.

 

Really looking forward to seeing your results when you do get it. Nice blennies btw.

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Hi Alex,

 

Your shots are awesome, you finally convinced me. I was still "thinking film" (I've never used a dSLR underwater), but when you have the results available immediately you really have a chance to learn. I never learned manual on film because after waiting a few weeks (I do the mailer thingy) for the slides, I could never figure out what I did wrong on the badly exposed ones. I think that with digital it will be a lot easier and faster to learn and master manual flash exposures, and I will go for that.

 

I was still waiting for Ikelite's iTTL solution, but I think I will keep my Sea&Sea (excellent and expensive) ports, buy a housing from them and keep using my beloved Ikelite SS200 in manual. My only problem still is the D70's slow AF, I had an N90 (which has the same AF as the D70) before and I was very frustrated with it's slow AF, that's why I upgraded to the F100. I will wait until the PMA and see what Nikon has to offer, if they don't come up with anything D200ish I will probably get a D70 and Sea&Sea housing. I thought about getting a D2x, but who would want to carry that brick around? Not to mention the body parts I'd have to sell on the black market to get the camera and housing, hahahaha…

 

Regarding the blenny, you are right again. Despite having spent a lot of time underwater, most of my diving in the Caribbean was to collect fish for my genetics research, and I usually don't pay too much attention to the small stuff. I had a lot of spare time in my Belize trip, that's why I was pleasantly surprised to take photos and see that blenny.

 

Thanks for the enlightening!

 

Regards,

 

Luiz

 

P.S.: Attached is a photo from my last trip to Belize. Flash on the bottom half, on TTL.

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Kewl under/over Luiz.

 

I'm in a very similar position to Luiz and I'm waiting for a D200ish toy b4 I jump. I've currently got an Ike film housing and I'm looking forward to iTTL implementation - although it looks like Mattias Heinrichs might already by first cab off the rank in that regard.

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Hey guys,

 

Sorry again for the rant last night. TTL is a useful tool. And certainly if you can get it - then by all means do so. It is a tool that you can carry with you underwater and it is there should you need it.

 

My point when starting this thread was to try to make the point that I believe that TTL is no where near as an inportant a tool as it is on film. And while it works well on digital - it should not be so high on your list of priorities when buying kit.

 

Alex

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My name is Julian, I am off TTL for 14 days / 3 dives.

 

Coming from a Nikonos V and a housed EOS film camera I’ve always used TTL for macro and wideangle. When I switched to manual power for wideangle work I always did several shots with different power and aperture settings.

 

I’ve used a bunch of tricks to compensate all of the Nikonos TTL system limitations: high reflective objects, shooting against the sun, subject covering just a little part of the frame with dark background, … all the things which would lead to an inaccurate exposure with the traditional TTL systems.

 

Now I’ve realized how easy manual strobing is when you get an instant feedback. It’s much easier and more reliable than TTL with all those tricks in order to get it work properly.

I just had to realize that the strobe’s power settings don’t have to be adjusted all the time during a dive. If the conditions (especially the distance) does not change too much you might find yourself not touching the strobe’s power knob at all during one dive. This is valid for macro as well.

 

Another thing I would like to add:

A lot of pro shooters and very experienced shooters diving regularly on many dive trips per year have committed to manual strobe control. That made me think: “They can handle it – but can I handle this as well?”. The answer is yes, you don’t have to be a pro. Even I was satisfied on my first dive already. Of course I have to build up experience, but the most important thing is that you won’t miss shots because you are on manual.

 

I’ve posted some pix from my first three digital & manual strobe dives:

http://www.wetpixel.com/modules.php?op=mod...c&p=47835#47835

 

My message: Don’t waste your money on a heavy, bulky and expensive strobe housing which won’t give you enough. Don’t let some promised TTL options drive your housing decision. You might regret it. There are 1000 criteria being more important than TTL with digital.

Manual is not just an alternative solution when digital TTL systems are not available, it’s better in my opinion.

 

I still think the industry has to implement digital TTL systems in the future. It is their job and we pay them for that. But I would not choose my gear depending on TTL.

(I was considering the Seacam strobe housing. Glad I didn't go for it . I would struggle with unreliable wideangle TTL results and couldn't even switch to manual).

 

Regards,

 

Julian

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Hi, my name is cor and Ive been off TTL for about 2 years. As many others im using a D100 without TTL strobes. It's not been hard at all, but lately im losing my willpower. I sortof wish I did have TTL sometimes. One thing I havent seen mentioned much, is doing macro with wide open lens. I find that next to impossible on manual, as even fully turned down on both my YS90DX strobes, with diffusers, and as far away from my housing as my (admittedly small) strobe arms allow, it's still a washout.

 

Ofcourse, most of the time Id be at f22 or so, but sometimes you just want to take an image with a very small depth of field. At those times I wish i had TTL. (or a camera that could sync at much higher speeds, oh well..:)

 

Cor

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My name is Mark and I have never been on ttl.Took up underwater photo in 1983 and never needed it. I did try in with some nikonos junk once but if I use( very rare) a 15mm with my nik 3 or 5 its always manual. Much easier to never start. My 2 f3 in aquatica housings never had it so learned without.I guess I'm ready for digital manual now. Mark

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My name is John etc. I became a photographer in 1966. I worked on many prestigeous advertising campaigns throughout the 70s and 80s including a whole raft of posters for Guinness. Evidently some of my stuff is in the V&A museum in London. I also ocasionally worked as a lighting-cameraman on a number of award-winning TV commercials. I retired in 1992 with what I thought was enough cash to last me the rest of my life. I suppose I probably know how to get the exposure right as much as anyone.

I took up diving full-time. I used to use Nik V. Many of my pictures were quite good but many were wrongly exposed. I then went on to housed Nikon SLRs which I used with Nikon TTL flash. I got used to getting 36 perfectly exposed shots per roll. It became easy. Operating on the KISS principle, combined with TTL flash, I stuck to a simple formula. I have done that for 13 years.

 

I have just started shooting digital underwater although I have been using it top-side for about two years. I use TTL flash. I shoot in RAW but rarely have to adjust exposure afterwards. I get 76 perfectly exposed shots on 1Gb. I first bought an S2 Pro. I have since bought more S2 Pro second-hand. I bid for six different cameras on ebay but got nowhere. Is this TTL why I have to pay so much for them?

 

Incidently - do you know how to make a small fortune out of diving? Start with a large one!

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John said (Incidently - do you know how to make a small fortune out of diving? Start with a large one)

This is a huge understatement. If my first dive instructor told me that this would consume enormous piles of cash and lead to what I have put into it I would have left the 1st night. Now after 23 years I own 2 bostom whalers two compressors 20+ tanks tons of photo gear- to many classes to recall-dive -med- tank inspector-1st aid. Have traveled the underwater world-mexico-san benadicto- carib- micronesia- melanesia-new zealand-hawaii-british columbia-queen charlotes-washington -cali-Oregon- cosa rica-now indonesia-most spots many times.4 Dry suits 6+ wet suits.trained more girlfriend's to dive than wish to recall. All this from 1 little class

my pile of $$ was not big to start so the fortune I could have had was never to be.-

The only real income to speek of other than some magazine articles and u/w calender's is some lucrative commercial dive jobs. They always pay well but are dangerous and very phyisical in the worst conditons. Most times the only good reason to get into the water -is with a camera. That said I do have several tons of tasty shipwreck artifacts laying around. ok one needs a crowbar for that work. Mark

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Hello,

 

My name is Fred. I started my underwater shooting using manual strobe and by the mid-nineties had changed over to TTL with a housed Nikon F4. I'm now shooting virtually everything TTL (yes including wide-angle with 17-35mm, 14mm & fisheye) with housed F5's. I believe TTL allows me to get much more consistent results, especially on the one-shot opportunities, than non-ttl ever did. And I have reasonable photo credits to back up the statement including a number of dive magazines, a few hit with German GEO, and five underwater stories in National Geographic.

 

TTL is not magic. It requires some careful testing and thinking as does any good photography. There are few general factors you need to consider.

 

Is the primary subject the same general brightness as the background? If its lighter (as on dark sand) you need to add a little minus compensation.

 

Is the primary subject quite small in the picture? If it is use some minus compensation.

 

Is the picture really three dimensional and where is the prime subject? If the subject is in the forward part of the picture it will tend to be rendered a little overexposed when TTL averages the whole scene, so again use a little minus compensation to darken the average and render the prime subject properly.

 

Is ambient light a factor? Determine if it is by metering the subject itself and if it is more than three f-stops darker than the water color setting you are using, it can be treated as a flash only subject with consideration for the three factors above. If the subject, like most fish on the reef, is only a stop or two darker that your water color camera setting, this means it is getting a significant amount of its light from ambient light, so add considerable minus compensation to reduce the flash exposure to offset the amount of light contributed to the subject by ambient light.

 

Example: I am shooting a school of jacks and my water color setting for a nice blue color is 1/125 @ f8 which shows up as -.3 on the analogue metering scale of the camera. The jacks read about 1/125 @ f5.6 (about -1 on the analogue scale). This means the jacks are already getting at least 50% of the light they need from ambient light. A full TTL flash will give them another 100%, resulting in at least 150% or a half stop overexposure. And this doesn't consider that some of the jacks are closer than others.

 

In this type of situation I find that two quick shots, one with the compensation at -1.7 or -2.0 and another with one more full stop of minus compensation (-2.7 or -3.0) will almost always give me at least one professionally usable picture. the camera is operated in the manual exposure mode. It is important to meter the water color and jacks with the compensation set at 0.0. And then once the ambient light setting is determined, change the compensation to control; the flash output. I make dealing with the two different compensations even easier by setting the cameras to a normal and -1.0 shot bracket pair, and use the custom functions to apply auto-bracketing to only the flash exposure. Finally, after ambient metering change the compensation to either -1.7 or -2.0. Pairs of exposures can then be made quickly and easily by simply pushing the trigger twice.

 

Doesn't a whole f-stop flash differnece seem like a lot. Do the math. If you're getting 50% or even 60% of the light from ambient, a -2.0 flash adds 25% more and a -3.0 adds 12.5 % more. Both of these give the jacks something like 75% and renders then just right to go with a nnice blue water color. This allows you to really control the balance of the ambient light part of the picture with the flash part, regardless of whether the jack come a bit closer or not, because the TTL will simply cut the flash output a bit. And you will have incredible difficulty matching this with any manual flash guide numbers or tables for different distances.

 

And this same technique can work on reef scenes or anywhere ambient light makes a major contribution to the exposure. All you need are good TTL strobes.

 

In an earlier post Dr. Mustard posed a situation of a wide-angle shot with a yellow sponge on the left side of the shot and a darker red one on the right. And said How can I do it with TTL? The answer is fairly straight forward. Since the yellow sponge is already brighter than the red one, position the strobe more to the right side of the picture and at enough of an elevation so that the distance to the front part of the sponge and its farther parts are more equal. Even easier if you use twin strobes for wide-angle and simply move the strobe on the left side much farther back that the one on the right.

 

Eric Hanauer in his post said, "Its that 2 1/2 stop latitude on the dark side that got me hooked." James wisely stated later that even with digital you can't really miss the shot by two f-stops and still not pay a price, which is something I've confirmed playing with a Fuji S2. If you simply use digital so that you can better correct your bad exposures, then I feel you'd do a lot better learning how to use your camera better.

 

This does not mean that I don't like digital. In fact I've just ordered a D2X. But I feel I'll be using it mainly topside until someone comes up with a really good underwater I-TTL strobe. In the meantime, I expect I'll continue to do most of my underwater shooting with a film camera and good TTL strobes.

 

divegypsy

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